In the wake of UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Blanchfield, I'm putting on my matchmaker hat once again! Though this event lacked familiar names relative to most others, it's always fun to watch the fresh faces come in and try to get the ball rolling. Let's take a look at the winners, the rankings, and how things should line up!
Alexander Hernandez vs Damon Jackson
Yeah, why not? Two Texans throwing down for a chance to climb the featherweight ranks? Let's make it happen! Alexander Hernandez left last weekend with a raised hand and a win to put him back in the win column. Damon Jackson is 4-1 in his last 5. Dan Ige was able to stop Jackson's win streak but, to be fair, there's no shame in losing to a fighter like Ige. Hernandez is 2-3 in his last 5. To snap his two-fight losing streak, he beat Jim Miller this past weekend via unanimous decision.
Hernandez did pick up this win at 155lbs, but he let everyone know that he'd like to go back down to 145 and chase gold there. Hernandez vs Jackson would be a very fun fight — it's a banger, both are looking to enter the top 15, and both fighters are looking to get some traction going for themselves.
Marcin Prachnio vs Tyson Pedro
Marcin Prachnio really kicked things into gear when he fought William Knight! Get it? Because he kicked a lot? Yeah, you get it. Prachnio was able to get the job done against Knight. This was a bit of a weird fight, but Prachnio looked great and got the win over one of the scariest looking dudes in the UFC. So, let's give him another scary looking dude!
Enter Tyson Pedro. Heavily tattooed, good at punching faces, and looking to make up for lost time — Pedro had a long stint of inactivity due to injuries. However, since returning in April of lsat year, he's fought three times and has gone 2-1. He won his first two returning bouts by TKO, but he lost via decision back at UFC 284. The Aussie taking on Prachnio sounds like a great fight to make!
Jamal Pogues vs Justin Tafa
After two stints on Dana White's Contender Series, Jamal Pogues finally had the opportunity to fight in the UFC. He came up large, beating Josh Parisian via unanimous decision. This was an emotional fight for Pogues, but he kept his composure, stuck to the game plan, and walked away victorious despite breaking his hand in the second round.
Justin Tafa just fought not too long ago. He scored a first-round knockout win against Parker Porter at UFC 284. This hometown win continued Tafa's 100% knockout win rate. Pogues only has one KO/TKO loss on his record, and that was his professional debut way back in 2016. This fight could be a very exciting one! Additionally, the waters at heavyweight are full of killers, but it's rather shallow; it doesn't take too many big wins to crack the top fifteen. Let these guys heal up and scrap it out!
Zac Pauga vs Philipe Lens
IF both of these names seem familiar, it's because they both won at this Fight Night event! Philipe Lens destroyed Ovince St. Preux in 49-seconds, while Zac Pauga grinded out a UD victory against Jordan Wright. Matching these two together makes sense because they're both outside of the top fifteen, and they should have a pretty similar schedule.
Erin Blanchfield vs Shevchenko-Grasso winner
It's hard to say that Erin Blanchfield deserves anything less than a title shot now. She's now 11-1, 5-0 in the UFC with three straight submission wins, and she just beat a former champion in Jessica Andrade! Blanchfield has undoubtedly earned herself a title fight. Not only did she get the finish, but she actually stood and traded with one of the hardest hitting females in the UFC!
The 23-year-old said it herself, she wants the winner of Schevchenko and Grasso. Valentina Shevchenko has been one of the most dominant champions that we've seen, but Grasso, winning four in a row, may have the momentum to dethrone the champ. Either way, Blanchfield wants a shot at whoever is holding the belt!